Monday, July 31, 2006

Late Starts, Alligators, Traffic Jams and Blown Tires

God said “Go.”

We said “ok.”

Then we asked, “Why, God? How long, God? God, we KNOW You have a plan here, but what is it? Um, God, it is getting kind-of warm down here….” We learned a lot along the way and did quite a bit of growing.

Then God said, “Go.” So, we packed up and made ready for the 1200 mile journey home. We started bright and early on one hot and sunny Thursday morning. And made it five minutes down the road. We have to eat, you know. Harbor View CafĂ© was calling our names, and so was J’s sister and a handful of other friends that we arranged to have breakfast with and say our goodbyes to. Did I mention that we were already an hour and a half late for this breakfast? It turned into brunch. Tears were shed as we said our goodbyes to family and friends – this seems to be the hardest part – then we were off. And we made a wrong turn. Now, J could turn around with the motorcycle rather easily, but I had a little bit harder of a time, so, even though he realized his mistake as soon as he turned onto said wrong road, we had to go all the way down it to find a suitable place to turn around, thus burning an additional thirty minutes. By now the kids had to pee, so I convinced them that the best course of action would be to do the wiggle until we actually made it to Canal Road and the truck stop to fill up right before getting on the interstate. Thankfully we got onto the right road this time and took the normal five minutes to get there. We pulled in, making all necessary pit stops and 45 minutes later were finally under way. By now it was noon. So much for that early start.

Now, three very sweet people were looking out for our best interests, and suggested we take an alternate route. One that was “much quicker” than the diagonal, up-and-over-at-the-same-time-common-sense-says-it’s-quicker route. Against our better judgment we went all the way over then straight up. Nope, not quicker. More miles, too. By now it was eight o’clock at night and we were not even out of Alabama. Not good. The sun had just set, and dusk was upon us in full force, someone changed lanes in front of me, then suddenly, AN ALLIGATOR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD! (Ok, quick lesson: an “Alligator” is a tractor trailer tire split open and laying flat in the middle of the road. Rather dangerous, actually. Then dangerous part I knew right off the bat. It wasn’t until telling this story in church that I found out what these wonderful little things on the road are called. I learned this from a tractor trailer driver himself. Thank you R.) Well, I thought very quickly, knew that even though the truck would clear it, the trailer was too low and would not, so I moved over. The truck missed it by a mile – I mean a foot. The trailer, however, did not, and I hit that alligator with the driver side tire of the trailer with a terrific thud. My heart raced but everything felt ok with my vehicle, so I started to breath again. Then my phone rang. J was calling to find out what I hit and kicked up into him…. He thought it was a deer. We pulled over and checked everything over – the trailer tire was bent in and therefore caused problems later on. The bike was leaking break fluid, had a bent rim and the bottom faring was broke. (Just had an estimate done on it – damage totaled $2700. I think this is an expensive bike. Good thing we have full coverage!) It was just beginning….

While J was checking everything else over, he noticed that the passenger side tire of the trailer was leaking air and really needed to be replaced. We went up to the next exit to find a Wal-Mart and a hotel to stay in for the night. Wal-Mart was not going to be able to fix the tire until the next morning so we figured that J could get up when TLE opened in the morning and get right in so we could get right out. HA! HA! HA! They could not fix the tire until 10:30…. So, guess when we got on the road….. NOON! Seems to be a running theme, here. The rest of the day went by without much hassle. We made it just past Cincinnati and stopped again for the night. This hotel was GORGEOUS! (And somehow managed to be cheaper than the one the night before… huh…) We had a wonderful dinner, slept in a great bed, and took showers with Bath and Body Works. How much better could it get? We even ended up SLEEPING until 10. So, guess what time we actually left town… Yep, NOON.

On the road again, just sittin’ on the road again… Today the trouble came in full force. We were driving along, and I rounded a slight corner and… ALL TRAFFIC WAS STOPPED! It was a good time to test the brakes. A little more quick thinking, and when I saw that my truck would not stop in time and I was about to have a BOAT in our laps, I swerved to the other lane which was suddenly and thankfully empty. I past three cars (one towing the boat) before I got the truck stopped, and I just about hit the huge arrow over sign that was sitting in the middle of my lane. My body suddenly felt like I had been drinking ten cups of coffee. One of the cars that I screeched past was kind enough to let me in, and J was now a few cars behind. He called me and I asked in a very shaky voice, “D-d-di-id I h-handle that o-o-ok?”

“Well, honey, did you wreck?”


“Then you handled it just fine.”

He also had to test out his brakes so he wasn’t eating the back of me, then when I swerved over, he had to make sure he didn’t eat the boat. Could have hurt….

A few hours later, J decided that he REALLY needed to... take a break..., and wanted to use the trailer as cover… how redneck. He started checking the tires and realized that the driver side tire had steel belts showing through and need to be changed right away so we didn’t have a blow out. So, I squeezed my arm between the wall of stuff and the wall of the trailer so I could loosen the nut holding the spare onto the side of the trailer. OUCH. J jacked up the trailer, got the tires switched and then put the bad tire back on the side. I then jammed my arm back in to fasten the tire back on. And away we went!

And made it 20 miles down the road. The BRAND NEW spare that we just put on (it still had the little knobby things on the side of the tire that are there when you buy it brand new!) EXPLODED. The truck swerved all over the road and I managed to get it pulled over to the shoulder. We called his dad and couldn’t get ahold of him, so tried his mom. Her response? “God told me that Satan doesn’t want you home.” Hmm, glad we got that one figured out. We had an inkling that might be the case with the FIRST incident… Dad was unable to come for us and we were still out by Jamestown, so we made the tire switch again, back to the one with threads – our only option. We prayed over the vehicles and tires again then headed out. A few miles down the road, J flagged me over and told me that dad had called and told us to put the new Wal-Mart tire on the tilted side and the steel belt tire on the good side, hopefully extending the life of the tire. We made it about an hour down the road, past all the one lane, 45mph construction zone before the tire went flat. This time we were past Olean and only about 30 miles from home or so and dad was able to come with a new tire. While we were waiting on the side of the road for dad, looking at all the gorgeous stars out, we began to feel raindrops. But the sky was clear and star-filled…. And then we looked up. Directly above us was a little fist sized cloud… All we could do was laugh. He sure was trying everything he could, but no matter what, we were going home!!

And here we are. Granted, Satan has definitely not let up. I didn’t really think that once we made it home he would let up, but I know that we are victorious in Jesus! So, bring it. I am not worried about it. A song we recently introduced in church says it well”

I believe in You

I believe in Your Word

I believe Your promises are true

I believe in You

I believe in miracles

I know I can do all things through You

Cause I believe in You, yeah, I believe in You

And a piece that came to me one Sunday morning and just won't get out of my head,

I will not be shaken, I will not be moved

No matter what the circumstances say

No matter what I see

I will not be shaken, I will not be moved

My God is not a god that lies

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My Nephew!!

This baby just begs to be kissed!

Ethan Patrick. Born at 9:45 this morning, weighing 8 lbs 5.5 oz, mommy says he is perfect in every way... I would say she is a little biased, but, I have the same opinion. Might have something to do with being the aunt, but I personally don't think so. ;) E is doing wonderfully and D is a proud new daddy, both just a little tired. Too bad MS is so far away. :(

Saturday, July 08, 2006


An out-of-town friend of ours recently shared his feelings on our little town after being woken from a nap that was not quite long enough by the six o'clock siren from the firehall... Mayberry crap he called it. I hope none of you are offended - we did find it rather funny.

Today another Mayberry tradition was carried on - the annual Summer-fest parade. Several Harley look-a-likes started it off, then came all of the fire trucks from the Mayberry fire company. These were followed by a float of sorts.... a pickup truck with a couple balloons attached pulling a flat-bed trailer carrying Beauty and the Beast... we were not sure which was which... Next came several tractors that had been lovingly washed and polished by their Mayberry owners. Another "float" followed this one advertising the rotary club and stating that" Mayberry rocks." Our humble governor and senator even showed up in a very shiny converatble and joined in throwing candy to all the kids lining the streets. More fire trucks drove through, these from the suburbs of Mayberry, then another float, followed by all of the vehicles from the fire company coming from the town down the road. We like fire trucks here. Another float joined in, this one decorated for Mardi Gras... I don't think this town really wants to go there. Then came the old cars... thankfully, they are NICE old cars, shiny, appear to be in good condition. One unfortunate soul did, however, suffer a small amount of embarassment when he had to PUSH his shiny old car through the parade.
Suddenly, T is jumping up and down, far more excited about this float than about the candy that had been thrown from previous ones... "Bud's coming! Bud's coming!" The Boy Scout's float was coming down the road - pulled by a semi, no less! They all looked so very cute dressed up as little jailbirds. After he passed by grinning ear to ear and waving, we saw... more tractors, and a float filled with rockers and a sign that read "Class of '81 still rocks." They are old enough to need rockers? I am scared... wait, they did all GRADUATE two years after I was born. Yeah, I guess that is old. Another tractor followed and then came a horse driven wagon followed by a handful of horses and their riders. Wait, who is that riding the last horse and bringing up the rear of the parade? Oh yeah, that out-of-town friend of ours who had just mentioned in a not so happy way the Mayberry crap... Seems a little ironic, perhaps.
And to top of my sights for the day, I see a relatively normal and decent looking young man riding his bicycle on the sidewalk... with a full grown golden retriever snuggly tucked into the basket on the back of his bike. I suppose this cancels out the "normal".... I think he was right, we are, after all, really in Mayberry.

Jailhouse Bud